(Wichita, KS) — It's been two years since an explosion and fire injured six volunteer firefighters in Kirwin, Kansas, now they and the city of are taking the company responsible to court claiming negligence.
"The case is worth millions of dollars, because at least the one fire fighter will never work again," said Wichita Attorney Don Snook.
Kirwin Fire Fighter Rex Lowe showed us his injuries just days after getting out of the hospital in 2010. The volunteer fire fighter was trying to put out a truck fire in Kirwin when chemicals onboard the truck exploded.
"It was huge explosion," Snook said. "It blew pieces of the storage container almost 500 feet way from where it was parked."
Snook represents Lowe, five other injured fire fighters and the City of Kirwin in the lawsuit that seeks millions of dollars in damages from Central Tank Coatings, Incorporated. The Iowa based company had been restoring the Kirwin water tower.
Investigators say sparks from cutting torches caused the wooden base of the tower to catch fire, flaming debris then fell on the company's truck below and that caused gallons of unlabeled chemicals to explode.
"Had the fire fighters known that there was flamable materials in this shipping container they either would have handled things differently or they may have just stayed away from the fire," Snook said.
Snook says one fire fighter suffered an extreme brain injury and will never work again.
"He has medical bills that will exceed one million dollars, he has life time care that is going to continue to be in the millions of dollars," Snook added.
KWCH talked to the owner of Central Tank Coatings Kelly Koehn, he didn't know about the Kirwin lawsuit yet and did not want to comment on the case. His company has hired a Kansas attorney and the next step is for that attorney to file a written response to this complaint.Lawsuit has been filed on Iowa based company.